Congress acknowledged this unfortunate but ongoing necessity when it overwhelmingly reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006 after more than 21 hearings and 15,000 pages of supporting evidence. The act was reauthorized through 2031 with an almost unanimous vote — 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate. Those members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, clearly believed that the hundreds of cases of apparent voter discrimination by states and municipalities necessitated federal oversight and preclearance.
Today, we still face real threats from individuals and institutions that are seeking to suppress voter turnout and deny individuals the right to vote. For some, what should be a routine exercise of citizenship has become a struggle. Without the proper oversight in place, the elderly, the poor and those living in rural communities could all be impacted.
I agree with those that say we have made great progress. We have come a long way since civil rights leaders confronted state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but now is not the time to abandon the safeguards that made progress possible.
Now more than ever we need a strong Voting Rights Act. I seriously question the sustainability of our democracy without it.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.